Well. Hello! Good morning. I started writing this post a little after 6am when I was hanging out on Sarah Ward at Guys Hospital. It’s Wednesday today and I had my single mastectomy on Monday. First things first, let me tell you how awesome morphine is. While I was dosed up I said “morphine snoozes are comfy” and described having my mastectomy as “a funny old day” and sent a couple of my friends the below image of my bear Teddy Edward “on the good stuff”. Safe to say, morphine is nice. Yes, I am aware I am 26 years old, but I figured when I was having my cheb chopped off, it was alright to take something comforting with me. Everyone keeps telling me I’m “so young” for breast cancer so ya know…I embraced it.
On Monday morning, I arrived at Guys at 11am, was sent to the Nuclear Medicine department to have a radioactive tracker fitted so they could find my lymph nodes (more on that in a sec). After that I ran through oodles of paperwork and did a lot of waiting around. Just before 3pm, I went into the anaesthetics room and by 3.05pm I was out for the count and presumably on the table.
During the procedure, my incredible surgeon performed a “right nipple sparing mastectomy and sentinel node biopsy with immediate reconstruction” which means they took out all the bad tissue and breast tissue and “filled the envelope” as they keep saying, with an implant in the same surgery. I visited a plastic surgeon one day last week (who described me as sporty – first time for everything) to see if they could make the implant out of my own flesh – but (un)fortunately, I don’t have enough, so an implant was required.
The positioning of my cancer meant that they were able to keep my nip, and at the moment there’s no necrosis (death of the skin/nipple) so it looks like it’s staying that way. The team also performed a sentinel node biopsy to make sure again that the cancer hasn’t spread to my lymph nodes. While previous tests have suggested it hasn’t, I think this is the definitive way to tell, so we’ll know the results of that in due course.
So how did it feel? When I was on the morphine, I didn’t feel much at all (the joys of a button which doses you up every 5 mins). I was high as a kite. Yesterday I was in mild discomfort for most of the day. This morning, I was in pain. My boob hurt, my arm hurt, my tummy muscles hurt. I was tired and a bit cranky about it (literally as I wrote that sentence the nurse hooked me up with some more pain killers. Winning). I’ve slept a considerable amount but all my energy is being used on healing rather than anything else. I’ve never felt tiredness like this. I fell asleep when I had visitors yesterday and not even because they were boring – it was like I had literally run out of petrol.
But the good news in all of this is that I NO LONGER HAVE CANCER. This may be the start of the journey and we might still have a lot of hurdles to overcome but I just have to keep reminding myself of the fact that I NO LONGER HAVE CANCER and it makes everything more worthwhile. Chemo is going to be hard. Recovery is going to be hard but it will all be worth it when I get the all clear in about April time. It feels like this is the start of the journey – and while it’s probably going to be a bumpy road, I know it’s going to be ok.
I stopped writing for a two hour nap and just found out that I am GOING HOME today! Yay! Looking forward to being in my own bed and watching Mary Berry and the new series of Bakeoff on my telly box. My blood pressure has been consistently low for the duration of my stay so I’m going to be staying very well hydrated to try to make sure it doesn’t get any lower.
I’m going to be carrying two rather ugly drains around with me for the next week or so. These drain all of the excess fluid from around the surgery site so I don’t get loads of swelling, but they look entirely vile. The good thing is, I get a pretty little bag to carry ’em round in so no one needs to see them unless they want to. Oh and actually, when they’ve filled up a bit more, I’ll probably let you guys see them. I know right, you are SO lucky.
Here’s a picture my dad took of me stuffing my face hole with a tuna sandwich just minutes after I came round from surgery and all the wires I had in my ’til I came home…
As I said before, this is definitely the start of the journey now but despite the pain and being more tired than I even knew possible, I’m still massively in fight mode and I will 100% beat this thing. And I’ll do it with style and determination.
But first, I’m got my dad to make me a cheese, bacon and potato pie and I’ll be watching Bakeoff from the sofa. I’ll take over the world tomorrow.